Since its initial broadcast in October 2004, Border Security: Australia’s Front Line has enjoyed sustained high ratings on Australian television. This article examines the key theme of ‘truth-telling’ in Border Security. Drawing on interviews with audiences and the program’s executive producer, the article argues that the way truth-telling shapes the storytelling in Border Security taps into contemporary social and political ideas about how and why Australian borders should be managed. As a diagnostic tool for identifying authenticity, truth-telling is the key condition, or ‘rule’, that newcomers must follow if they want to enter the country. But audiences also apply the rule of truth-telling to the program itself, and disengage when they feel like they are being manipulated. Truth-telling at the border – by people wanting to enter the country and by the program production itself – contributes to the continued popularity of the program with Australian audiences, and also explains when and why audiences disengage with the program.
Field of Research
200212 Screen and Media Culture 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
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